Reinventing the Gothic: A Review of Colin Winnette’s “The Job of the Wasp”

There is something bizarre and unsettling at the core of Colin Winnette’s oeuvre, and whatever magical thing that is, it displays its power like the tail of a peacock in his latest, The Job of the Wasp. Released by Soft Skull Press, an indie press that ranks amongst my favorites, The Job of the Wasp is what would happen if William Golding’s Lord of the Flies crashed against Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone at high speed in a room […]

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The Monsters of American History: A Review of Alma Katsu’s “The Hunger”

There are many moments in the history of the United States that deserve every drop of ink that has been used to write about them. From The Alamo to the narratives of early New York and from the fate of early explorers to the gold fever days of California, the country’s history is packed with fertile ground for historical fiction. That being said, perhaps there is no story more deserving of reimagination than that of the Donner Party. Well, enter […]

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A Tale of Revolution and Crime, Told With Poetry

I was in high school when the movie Payback came out. I watched it and immediately felt a connection with the main character, Porter, played by Mel Gibson. Sure, he was a bad guy, but the point of the movie was not that he was bad; it was that he wanted what was fair. It didn’t matter to me that the money was stolen, the point was that he deserved to get his cut. In any case, no other movie […]

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Surreal Nightmares and Literary Convergence: A Review of Matthew Revert’s “Human Trees”

Nothing compares to the satisfaction of seeing an author achieve exactly what you thought them capable of after reading their first couple of books. Matthew Revert, perhaps the most influential and sought-after graphic designer in indie publishing, is also one of the most exciting voices in the space where surreal, literary, and plain weird fiction meet. With the release of Human Trees, his latest novel, that position has somewhat morphed into something new. After reading the book, it becomes obvious […]

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A Fresh Take on Online Life, Turned Uncanny: Benjamin Percy’s “The Dark Net” Reviewed

Benjamin Percy’s The Dark Net is a floating signifier obsessed not only with never being nailed down but also with trying to cross-pollinate as many genres and subgenres as possible. At once a mystery narrative, a hardcore horror novel, a science fiction book, and a tale that deconstructs Portland while showing readers the absolute omnipresence of the internet in countries that are on the lucky side of the digital divide, this is the kind of novel that would make almost […]

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An Uncanny Adventure of Family and Loss: Jeremy Robert Johnson’s “In the River” Reviewed

With every new book of his, I find myself struggling to come up with new ways of praising Jeremy Robert Johnson. I do it in part because repetitiveness strikes me as lazy, but also because every book of his is wildly different from the previous one. As I’ve mentioned before (see how hard it is to keep it fresh?), Johnson is like Brian Evenson or Stephen Graham Jones in the sense that you never know what you’re going to get […]

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Shifting Identities and Horrors in the Arctic: A Review of Bracken MacLeod’s “Stranded”

When discussing authors who possess the ability to seamlessly stitch together elements drawn from a plethora of genres to create something refreshing and new, Lauren Beukes, Brian Evenson, and Stephen Graham Jones quickly come to mind. Now, Bracken MacLeod has joined that list of very talented literary chameleons with his latest novel, Stranded, which pulls a variety of elements from adventure and survival narratives, horror, science fiction, and mystery to construct a bizarre and profound story about identity and the […]

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